Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Developer appeals rejection of homes plan

A BUSINESSMAN has appealed after being refused planning permission for four new homes in Watlington.

Errol Facy, the owner of a Henley department store, wants to build a pair of two-bedroom cottages and two four- or five-bedroom houses off Brook Street.

The proposal was said to be the first major challenge to the town’s neighbourhood plan, which did not allocate the land for development.

The parish council objected and South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, rejected the application in April on the grounds that the scheme would increase the volume of traffic.

It said: “The development would result in vehicular trips through a sensitive part of the highway network in Watlington, which already experiences unacceptable levels of congestion.

“Furthermore, the proposal would involve the intensification in the use of an access point which does not benefit from adequate visibility splays.

“The council considers that the residual cumulative traffic impacts of this proposed development would be unacceptable and would meet the criteria of ‘severe harm’.

“The harmful impact upon highway safety would undermine the public benefits.”

In a statement on behalf of Mr Facy, chartered town planning consultant Duncan Gibson says: “The application received encouragement from planning and conservation, arboricultural and ecological and highways officers right up until the last minute when the rug was pulled by the latter, undermining the hundreds of hours and no little expenditure that had been invested in the project.

“This goes against all the principles of good planning and is particularly frustrating because it is politically motivated and not backed up by the evidence.

“The appeal application should rightly have been approved.”

In 2016 Mr Facy applied for permission for five homes on the land but withdrew his application after objections from residents.

He revised the site layout in the latest application, saying it avoided the flood plain and minimal excavation would be required for the main access with little risk of damaging the mature trees.

Mr Facy’s appeal will be dealt with via written representations, rather than a public inquiry.

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